Dorsey, McGahee, Coker earn BIG EAST Honors

Dec. 10, 2002

Providence, R.I. (BIG EAST) – Fresh off a second straight undefeated regular season, a No. 1 national ranking and third BIG EAST Championship in a row, Miami’s two Heisman Trophy candidates – Ken Dorsey and Willis McGahee – have been named BIG EAST Offensive Players of the Year, the league announced. Temple defensive lineman Dan Klecko earned Defensive Player of the Year, while Andy Lee of Pittsburgh and Nate Jones of Rutgers shared the Special Teams Player of the Year award. Panther standout Larry Fitzgerald garnered BIG EAST Rookie of the Year, while UM head coach Larry Coker earned Coach of the Year honors.

It is just the second time in NCAA history that two players from the same school have shared any major conference award (Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year: Nick Bell & Matt Rodgers, Iowa, 1990). It also marks the first defensive and special teams major award winners for Pittsburgh, Rutgers and Temple. The All-BIG EAST First and Second Teams were also announced. All selections are made by the league’s head coaches, who are not permitted to vote for their own players.

Dorsey is the second Hurricane quarterback (Gino Torretta, 1991-92) to earn Offensive Player of the Year honors in consecutive seasons. The senior led the BIG EAST in passing (256.1 ypg), total offense (254.4) and pass efficiency (148.0 rating). The pass efficiency rating ranked eighth nationally, as he threw for 300 yards or more in a game five times this season. Dorsey is 38-1 in three years as the UM starter.

McGahee leads the BIG EAST and is fourth in the nation in rushing with 140.5 yards per game. The sophomore tailback scored a school-record 27 touchdowns, including at least one in each of the last 10 contests. He surpassed the 100-yard plateau in 10 games, including each of his last six outings. McGahee averaged 13.5 points, second in the country. He was also No. 4 in the NCAA rankings (first in the BIG EAST) in all-purpose yards with a 169.7-yard average.

Klecko is the first Temple player to win a major league award. The senior defensive lineman led the BIG EAST in sacks (10.0) and tackles for loss (22.5). He had 2.05 stops for loss per game, an average that is fourth nationally. He finished with 68 tackles, including 46 solo. Klecko is also a unanimous pick on the first team for the second straight year, just the eighth player (along with Dorsey) in BIG EAST history to be a unanimous choice more than once.

Lee led the BIG EAST in punting with 43.3 yards per kick. The junior had the best average for a conference-leader since 1997 (Jimmy Kibble, VT, 45.1). He punted 66 times, with 15 for 50 or more yards. Thirteen of his kicks were inside the 20-yard line, with 11 touchbacks and four fair catches. Lee had the longest punt in the league this year, a 73-yarder against Texas A&M on Sept. 7. It was the eighth-longest in BIG EAST history. He is the second BIG EAST punter (Todd Sauerbrun, WVU, 1994) to earn this award.

Jones was first in the conference in kickoff returns with a 28.3-yard average, a mark that is sixth nationally. The junior had two 100-yard kickoff returns for touchdowns, accomplishing the feat against Tennessee and Syracuse. He is only the second player in BIG EAST history to have two 100-yard returns for scores in the same year (Nate Terry, WVU, 1997). Jones also finished third on the team with 84 tackles on defense. He was also a Verizon/CoSIDA Academic All-America Second Team selection.

Fitzgerald burst onto the conference landscape, finishing first among wideouts with 11 touchdowns. The freshman had 64 receptions for 917 yards, ranking first in the league with 5.33 catches per game. The 11 receiving scores was tied for second on the BIG EAST single-season list, as he had four 100-yard games in 2002. Fitzgerald was also a unanimous pick on the All-BIG EAST first team, the first true freshman in league history to accomplish the feat.

Coker guided Miami to its seventh BIG EAST title and the nation’s No. 1 national ranking with an 12-0 record. It was the second straight undefeated regular season for the Hurricanes. UM also finished 7-0 in conference play, the fourth time since round-robin play began in 1993 it has gone unbeaten. The ‘Canes are in the top 10 in the nation in six different statistical categories.

The All-BIG EAST selections boasted seven repeat first team choices. Five players moved up from second to first team, with BC’s Dan Koppen the lone repeat honoree on the second team. Five players were unanimous picks on the first squad – Dorsey, McGahee, Fitzgerald, Klecko and Miami’s Jonathan Vilma. The Hurricanes led the way with 13 players on the first team.


BIG EAST OFFENSIVE PLAYERS OF THE YEARKEN DORSEY, MIAMI, QB, Senior, 6-5, 200, Orinda, Calif./MiramonteWILLIS McGAHEE, MIAMI, RB, Sophomore, 6-1, 224, Miami, Fla./Central


BIG EAST SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYERS OF THE YEARANDY LEE, PITTSBURGH, P, Junior, 6-2, 205, Westminster, S.C./West-OakNATE JONES, RUTGERS, KR, 5-10, 175, Scotch Plains, N.J./Scotch Plains-Fanwood

BIG EAST ROOKIE OF THE YEARLARRY FITZGERALD, PITTSBURGH, WR, 6-3, 210, Minneapolis, Minn./Acad. of the Holy Angels/Valley Forge M.A.

BIG EAST COACH OF THE YEARLARRY COKER, MIAMI, 24-0 (1.000) – Second SeasonAlma Mater: Northeastern Oklahoma State (1970); Hometown: Okemah, Okla.


OFFENSEPos. Player School Ht. Wt. Cl. Hometown/High School/Junior CollegeWR Andre Johnson Miami 6-3 227 Jr. Miami, Fla./Miami SeniorWR Larry Fitzgerald** Pittsburgh 6-3 210 Fr. Minneapolis, Minn./Acd. of Holy Angels/Valley ForgeOT Lance Nimmo West Virginia 6-6 287 Sr. New Castle, Pa./LaurelOG Bryan Anderson Pittsburgh 6-5 310 Sr. Philadelphia, Pa./John BartramC Brett Romberg Miami 6-3 290 Sr. Windsor, Ontario, Canada/Belle River DistrictOG Sherko Haji-Rasouli Miami 6-6 318 Sr. Toronto, Ontario, Canada/J.A. MacDonaldOT Mark Parenteau Boston College 6-5 292 Sr. Pompano Beach, Fla./Cardinal GibbonsTE Kellen Winslow Miami 6-5 233 So. San Diego, Calif./Scripps RanchQB Ken Dorsey** Miami 6-5 200 Sr. Orinda, Calif./MiramonteRB Willis McGahee** Miami 6-1 224 So. Miami, Fla./CentralRB Avon Cobourne West Virginia 5-9 190 Sr. Cherry Hill, N.J./Holy CrossPK Todd Sievers Miami 6-3 214 Sr. Ankeny, Iowa/AnkenyKR/PR Nate Jones Rutgers 5-10 175 Jr. Scotch Plains, N.J./Scotch Plains-Fanwood

DEFENSEDL William Joseph Miami 6-5 297 Sr. Miami, Fla./EdisonDL Jerome McDougle Miami 6-4 271 Sr. Pompano Beach, Fla./Ely/Hinds CCDL Claude Harriott Pittsburgh 6-4 245 Jr. Belle Glade, Fla./Glades CentralDL Dan Klecko** Temple 6-1 276 Sr. Colts Neck, N.J./MarlboroLB Jonathan Vilma** Miami 6-2 220 Jr. Coral Gables, Fla./Coral GablesLB Gerald Hayes Pittsburgh 6-3 245 Sr. Paterson, N.J./Passaic County TechLB Grant Wiley West Virginia 6-1 230 Jr. Trappe, Pa./Perkiomen ValleyCB Antrel Rolle Miami 6-1 189 So. Homestead, Fla./South DadeCB Torrie Cox** Pittsburgh 5-10 185 Sr. Miami, Fla./Miami NorthwesternS Maurice Sikes Miami 5-11 193 Jr. Miami, Fla./Monsignor Edward PaceS Sean Taylor Miami 6-3 220 So. Miami, Fla./Gulliver PrepP Andy Lee Pittsburgh 6-2 205 Jr. Westminster, S.C./West-Oak


OFFENSEPos. Player School Ht. Wt. Cl. Hometown/High School/Junior CollegeWR Jamel Riddle Syracuse 5-7 173 Jr. Meriden, Conn./PlattWR David Tyree Syracuse 6-2 198 Sr. Montclair, N.J./MontclairWR Ernest Wilford Virginia Tech 6-4 216 Jr. Richmond, Va./Armstrong/FranklinOT Rob Petitti Pittsburgh 6-6 330 So. Rumson, N.J./Rumson-Fair Haven RegionalOG Anthony Davis Virginia Tech 6-4 320 Sr. Victoria, Va./Central-LunenburgC Dan Koppen Boston College 6-3 304 Sr. Apex, N.C./Whitehall (Pa.)OG Ken Sandor West Virginia 6-4 300 Sr. Roebling, N.J./Holy CrossOT Carlos Joseph Miami 6-6 334 So. Miami, Fla./EdisonTE Sean Ryan Boston College 6-5 250 Jr. Buffalo, N.Y./St. JosephQB Rod Rutherford Pittsburgh 6-3 215 Jr. Pittsburgh, Pa./Perry Traditional AcademyRB Derrick Knight Boston College 5-9 205 Jr. Westwood, Mass./Xaverian BrothersRB Lee Suggs Virginia Tech 6-0 201 Sr. Roanoke, Va./William FlemingPK Sandro Sciortino Boston College 5-10 201 Jr. Markham, Ontario, Canada/Brother Andre CHSPK Cap Poklemba Temple 5-11 180 Sr. Westminster, Md./McDonoghKR/PR Jamel Riddle Syracuse 5-7 173 Jr. Meriden, Conn./PlattKR/PR DeAngelo Hall Virginia Tech 5-11 200 So. Chesapeake, Va./Deep Creek

DEFENSEDL Jamaal Green Miami 6-3 261 Sr. Camden, N.J./WilsonDL Louis Gachelin Syracuse 6-2 284 Jr. Miami, Fla./Miami JacksonDL Nathaniel Adibi Virginia Tech 6-3 254 Jr. Hampton, Va./PhoebusDL David Upchurch West Virginia 6-3 280 Sr. Hyattsville, Md./Eleanor RooseveltLB D.J. Williams Miami 6-2 247 Jr. Concord, Calif./De La SalleLB Clifton Smith Syracuse 6-3 251 Sr. Freeport, N.Y./FreeportLB James Davis West Virginia 6-2 230 Sr. Stuart, Fla./Martin CountyCB Shawn Seabrooks Rutgers 5-10 190 Sr. Paterson, N.J./Paterson EastsideCB DeAngelo Hall Virginia Tech 5-11 200 So. Chesapeake, Va./Deep CreekS Willie Pile Virginia Tech 6-3 205 Sr. Alexandria, Va./West PotomacS Angel Estrada West Virginia 6-1 200 Sr. Bronx, N.Y./Nassau CCP Vinnie Burns Virginia Tech 5-11 190 So. New Orleans, La./St. Augustine

** – unanimous selection

Ties in the voting created additional positions for Offensive Player of the Year, Special Teams Player of the Year and second team wide receiver, placekicker and kick returner.